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Effects of early programming on child's neurodevelopmental outcomes

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Maternal body weight and supplementation during pregnancy and child development

A study examined the short- and long-term effects of early nutrition on children’s health in order to determine the important role of maternal supplementation and body weight during pregnancy on child’s neurodevelopment. This knowledge would help to establish positive dietary and body weight recommendations for pregnant women and those planning pregnancy.


Folate and polyunsaturated fatty acids obtained through diet are considered of extreme importance for neurodevelopment. Knowledge in this area had been largely based on animal and short-term animal, retrospective, short-term nutritional intervention studies in humans. These along with the scarce randomised control studies performed in humans provide controversial results. An EU-funded project NUTRIOMICS (Effects of early programming on child's neurodevelopmental outcomes), studied the effects of early programming such as folate and/or fatty acids supplementation during pregnancy. It also looked at the influence of higher body weight/obesity in association with genetic background on neurodevelopmental outcomes in children. There were no clear effects of fatty acids and folate supplementation on the neurological development of infants. It was shown that higher fatty acids and folate levels in children at delivery could have positive effects on their neurological development later in life. Maternal supplementation with folate during pregnancy exhibited an influence on infant’s early programming. Additionally, maternal body weight showed a negative impact on child’s early programming with possible adverse effects later in life. Results were summarised in ten scientific papers, nine manuscripts, and one book chapter. They will be useful in providing valuable knowledge to promote health through positive dietary and body weight recommendations for pregnant women.


Child’s neurodevelopment, pregnancy, folate, fatty acids, body weight, early programming

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